Thoughts On A More Offline Life
For anyone that has watched my foray into dumbphone videos on YouTube, you’ll know that I have a fascination with living a less technologically driven life. I have fantasised about being an Amish person many a time but alas; I cannot grow a beard so I would never fit in.
I have a tendency to get very sucked into things; YouTube videos, Twitter spats, doom and gloom news articles, LinkedIn humble brags (that didn’t happen), hackernews articles about why everything is carcinogenic etc. The novelty and urgency aspect of these platforms really sing to the ADHD in me.
All of these things, not just in combination, but even singularly, can be enough to leave me feeling like the world sucks and that I should view life through the lens of fear, suffering and a lack of accomplishment.
My life is not like this. I have an incredible wife and children; a wonderful family and some truly caring friends. I am professionally accomplished, having built a career over the last 15 years in software engineering, now as a tech lead manager. So my time spent on these online platforms were enough to distort my reality from the beautiful adventure that it is into something completely false.
So I quit it all. Despite feeling so much better as a result, it feels like it has cost me dearly in other ways.
Digital Ego Death
I soon found after being away from these platforms for a while and in the real world much more that I started to view everyone that posted prolifically on them as categorically insane.
My take on this is that I really don’t care what anyone else is up to on these platforms so why should I post something thinking anyone else cares about what I am up to. It’s just everyone taking a collective piss in the wind.
I started to find that I was feeling thoroughly disconnected from new developments in my field. I was feeling disconnected from the professional network I had built over the last 15 years. It felt like the world that was once so wide open and full of opportunities had shrunk to only who I know in my local village and town.
This, as the sole breadwinner of a family living in a rather remote area of the UK, was quite terrifying.
Nobody knows who I am now and I have nothing to tap into if I need work, advice, or professional discussions.
Playing The Game
I don’t want to participate in social media anymore. I am not interested in building a personal brand since it can never be authentically me. I am not interested in building a following by talking obsessively about one topic (my life encompasses much more than that singular focus). I won’t do it. It makes me feel awful.
But without doing that, how does one stay relevant in their field or at least be in a place where opportunity can still come their way?
I don’t know the answer to this stuff. But I do know for these drawbacks, I have found many many more positives in living a more disconnected life. It has allowed me to build habits I’ve always wanted to and to spend much more quality time with those that I care the most about.
Perhaps I should become a plumber or an electrician where, when the skills are in demand, you simply get a phone call. The industry doesn’t really change much and things are steady. Or perhaps the grass is always greener…
In anycase, if you’ve done something similar and found ways to reconcile such feelings I would love to chat: